How to Do the Thumb Roll Flair Bartending Move

Learn how to do the flair bartending move called the thumb roll from mixologist Chris Cardone in this Howcast video.

Hi, I’m Chris from the Flair Bartend Association, and I’m going to teach you how to do a thumb roll.

Thumb rolling is a really easy art, once you learn how to do it. You have to basically use your thumb and push the tin. When you push a tin, the tin is going to then roll around your thumb, kind of coming back around, and then you’re going to squeeze it.

You also kind of have to move your hand a little bit down, because as gravity goes, the tin’s going to go. It’s kind of starts here, and finishes a little bit lower, not too much lower, but a little bit lower. You also will basically have the feel of the tin on your thumb the whole time, so you’ll know exactly where to bring your hand down on the tin, as it goes.

Quickly, it kind of looks like this; and that’s a thumb roll. Now, the reason that you do a thumb roll, is to sequence yourself into other moves, whether you’re putting your tin down, starting something new, or kind of going into a new move or just to keep something moving in between moves. But a thumb roll is more of a sequence filler more than a move you would do by yourself. You wouldn’t stand behind a bar and go, "Hey, check that out."

But at the same time, you might do it in between certain other moves, to fill the gaps or to seal things. A lot of times what I start, when I work is, I’ll take a tin off the bar, and then I’ll do a thumb roll, and then bring it around my back and continue grabbing a bottle and moving on. But the thumb roll again, when you break it down, is a really, really simple move, once you master it. It’s just a matter of pushing with your thumb, letting the tin roll around, grabbing with your other hand. Excuse me – with the same hand, like that. And that’s a thumb roll, so we’re going to just push and then follow it with our thumb, and it really never leaves your thumb. It stays on there, the whole time.

And that’s a thumb roll.